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Thread: the first shot distance for 2009 is...

  1. #1

    Smile the first shot distance for 2009 is...

    A couple of months a go I asked you guys what the distance was from you to the critter when you fired the first shot this year. About 50 of you responded. Please remember this is just a little sampling of what takes place in Alaska. I tossed out everything that was not classified as an Alaskan big game animal and shot at with a rifle. This is the 3rd year I have done this on this forum. Any way, for this year it appears as though the average distance was under 150 yards. A 3 year average is running under 160 yards. That is good, as far as I am concerned. Yup, closer is better. So what do we do, carry a rifle/caliber/scope combo that will work best for the longest possible shot, or do we carry a rifle/caliber/scope combo that is best for the distance we are most likely to shoot? Go figure.

  2. #2
    Member Vince's Avatar
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    cool stuff... as for your question... my set up is a 3-9x40... set up to work the dark morning and evenings... and big fat crosshairs that glow in the dark.. and able to pick an ear out of the bushed at 50 yards... I have a max range of 314 yards i shoot on a regualr basis.. and no need to get any further out.
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

    meet on face book here

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    The terrrain where we hunt varies significantly so we have to be prepared for short and long distances. I shoot a 300 Weatherby using handloads. This year's moose was taken at 374 yards. Wide open area. My hunting partner shoots a 300 ultra using handloads as well and he took his moose at 29 yards. Dense cover. Most of our shots average 200+ yards.

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    A good 2-7 or 3-9 will cover pretty much everything in the state for most high powered rifles. The exception being the big thumper rounds which won't ever need over 6x and would probably do better with a 1.5-4. There are those that love their fixed powered scopes at 2, 4, or 6 power and I can't fault their simplicity and weight loss for that choice.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Range and other what-ifs: preparing for shots we might face...

    Iím not a very experienced hunter, but this is good information and good to know. To newbies like me, there is an awful lot to consider when it finally comes down to a shot opportunity. In 2008, I was invited on my first hunt with a friend. There was so much to learn, about gear, about hunting, and shooting, ethics, optics, so much stuff; knowledge and skills needed to at least do the trip right and possibly score a moose. On the hunt, we called 2 moose in, but they never stepped out of the woods to offer a shot. The experience underscored the importance of being able to make a shot under field conditions at common ranges. The range was under 200 yds. I'm sure game is taken at longer range too, but your poll/survey results show that much big game in Alaska is still taken at modest range and supports all those 45/70 shooters and others (any other caliber with limited range ballistics) who over the years have come to appreciate that their target species in the areas they hunt, can be taken without the long reach of more specialized rifles. It boils down to the odds you expect, I guess. The results also underline the importance of nailing down any shot of 150/160 yds or less because these are the most likely opportunities.

    In the months of practice for each year's hunt, I think about common and uncommon shot opportunites that might arise. Like tools in a toolbox, it seems the more skills we develop with our rifles, the more options we'll have for succeeding. It can take a lot of time and expense to get that shot. We'd like to be prepared when it comes. Having some confidence to make a longer shot, or a snap shot for instance, might mean the difference between packing meat and continuing the hunt. Like others new to it all, thereís still a lot of learning from others; talking to friends a lot and reading - including on this forum.

    Shooting well: One of my friends made a fine shot on a moose last year. When I asked him about it, he told me about the years he spent hunting elk, and how long shots or shots on moving elk are sometimes all you get. The shot opportunity you get in the field might 150-160 yds or less, but might be 300. It might be broadside, but could be quartering. It usually will be standing, but shooting quickly could be your only chance. Wayne van Zwoll (in "The Hunter's Guide to Accurate Shooting") explained how some field opportunities are best let to pass, but practicing can also prepare you for opportunities you didn't expect and determines what is a good shot opportunity for you. Vince's post seems like a good example. If we all geared up and practiced for shots between 50 and 314 yds, then there wouldn't be many game opportunities we'd miss.

    Thanks for doing and posting these poll results.

  6. #6
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    .338 Mag,

    Great and interesting research. This year I shot my caribou using a 1950's era 4x scope mounted on a .30 06 from about 150 yards out. After that caribou hunt in late fall I upgraded to a 3-9 Leupold for hunting in Montana and didn't harvest any game! Ironic I think is the word they use... haha

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    Moderator hunt_ak's Avatar
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    Thanks for the follow-up and keep this thing rollin! I would've guessed in the 200 ballpark for an average...

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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    Default 6x

    Good post +1 rep point headed your way.

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    Member 7wt's Avatar
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    Default Bear at 100 yards

    Went hunting on POW for black bear. I use a 3x9 Cabelas Alaskan Guide scope. I had it set on 6x and shot my bear with a 7mm REM MAG at 100 yards exactly. One shot kill penetrated both lungs without hitting a rib. Bear took 2 steps and dropped. Nice thread. BTW, I have a leupold VXII 3x9 and can't tell enough difference to justify the expense of the leupold. The Cabela's scope was $199.00 and survived the constant rain on a 10 day hunt.

  10. #10
    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    2009...

    Mine, - Caribou, about 180 yds. 30-06 w/ Leupold 4x compact.

    Also witnessed a winter moose killed at about 420 yds. Also a 30-06 w/ a 3x9 Nikon set to (I think) 4x.

    Yk

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